The trip that inspired Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach

May 31st, 2015

This morning, Facebook sent me a notification saying I had memories. Six years ago today, I was with my family in Clearwater Beach, Florida on the vacation that would later inspire my first book, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

Mandy used a beach wheelchair to go around Discovery Cove. We went snorkeling, swam with stingrays and dolphins. I loved it!!

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

The beach was walking distance from where we stayed. Here’s a picture of Mandy and my dad at the beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the beach.

The "cartoon" version

The “cartoon” version

This was such a fun trip! I loved spending time with my family. I had no idea at the time that trip inspire a children’s book, which would lead to more books.

In other news, I will have an updated image of Wendy for book #5 in the next couple weeks as well as a cover. I can’t wait to share it with you!!!



Sisters raising awareness continues

October 27th, 2014

The month of October has been busy for Wendy on Wheels!  October 7th, my sister and I visited Kellison Elementary in Fenton, Missouri.  We presented in an all school assembly for their Ability Awareness Day.  What a wonderful group of students! Mandy and I talked about what it was like growing up.  Then, we opened it up to questions and answers.  There were a lot of good questions for Mandy.  They were really imagining Mandy when she was in elementary school.  They asked questions like, “What is your favorite color?” And “What is your biggest struggle in life?”  It was awesome!!!  Now, they can say they’ve met someone who uses a wheelchair.

This morning, we went to the two and three year old room at St. Micheal and St. George School.  We read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach. Afterwards, each child was allowed to touch Mandy’s wheelchair.  Their teacher, Lisa has been teaching them about differences.  They’ve been learning about difference in skin color and hair color.  Today, the focus was differences in abilities.

st.michael1 st.michael

School visits are my passion!!!!  I love raising awareness especially with my sister!!!!

St. Louis Variety’s Adventure Camp

July 3rd, 2013

St. Louis Variety means a lot to my family.  From their website, “Variety The Children’s Charity has been helping children with physical and mental disabilities reach their full potential for 80 years.”  Mandy was their poster child for a couple years when she was little.  I wish I had a picture of that to post.  Over the years, Mandy has gone to camp, been a counselor, volunteered in the office and done a lot for Variety.

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited Variety’s Summer Adventure Camp.  We loved it!!!  The kids were so cute.

Copyright Variety St. Louis

Copyright Variety St. Louis

It’s so wonderful what Variety does for these children!  They all seemed to be having so much fun at camp.

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

I’m so glad I get to talk about Wendy on Wheels with my sister, Mandy, the inspiration behind the series.  I have so much fun raising awareness with her!

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

This little guy is adorable!!!  It was an awesome visit!  I think the campers really enjoyed Wendy on Wheels.

Our visit to MDA Camp

June 20th, 2013

Today, my sister, Mandy and I took a little road trip to share Wendy on Wheels with children at the MDA Camp in Fredericktown, MO

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

At first, I wasn’t sure how the kids felt about my books because they were absolutely silent the whole time we read.  At the end, they asked a bunch of questions about how and why I wrote the books.  Afterwards, we hung out at a pavilion by the lake.  For the last couple days, the kids worked on building boats out of cardboard, duct tape and plastic wrap.

Here's one boat.

Here’s one boat.

It was time to test the boats on the waters.  The counselors got in the boats and floated around the lake.  It was quite a sight.

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

I met a little girl who was a mermaid.  She played tag but she could never be it because she was the mermaid princess.  “Just look at my tail!”  She gestured at her legs.

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet such a fun group!!!!  We had a blast!!

School Visits and Book Writing

October 3rd, 2012

It’s been 3 months since my last post.  After the Abilities Expos, I took some time off to focus on being a mom.  Now it’s October, National Disabilities Month as well as Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  I’m ready to visit some schools again.  It’s time for me to get back to what I do best, which is teaching children acceptance, ability awareness and to end bullying.

School visits can be set up by emailing me directly at

The self-cath book I worked on for 180 Medical’s Kids Club  had a very successful launch at the Spina Bifida Conference in the summer.  Here are a few pictures.  The second picture is my sister, Wendy on Wheels’ inspiration, Amanda with the purple bag.



There were two versions of the book, “Ethan Can Cath!” for boys.  “Emma Can Cath!” is for girls.  Both books show instructional pages to help little ones learn to catheterize themselves.  From what I heard, Ethan and Emma were a huge hit.  If you have a child with Spina Bifida who needs to learn to self-cath, I recommend contacting 180 Medical and joining their kids club.

Chicago Abilities Expo

July 6th, 2012

Last weekend, I had a blast at the Abilities Expo in Chicago!  Auti, from the Sundance Channel’s new show the Push Girls, had a dance workshop every day.  People of all ages joined the dance circle to show off their favorite moves.  It was so great to see.  Auti is so nice!! 

This little girl, Anna came by my booth.  What a cutie!

Saturday was my workshop where I introduced Wendy on Wheels and read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand.  I started off talking about my inspiration for Wendy on Wheels.  There’s my sister, Amanda, up on the screen.  After I read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand, I asked the discussion questions.  The little ones in the audience were shy about answering my questions.

Here I am talking about pages eighteen and nineteen.  One the left (page 18) Wendy is frustrated and angry about the events of the day.  She sits on her bed with her arms folded.  She asks herself, “What else could I have done?”  Page nineteen, Wendy’s mindset shifts.  She puts her idea to paper.  Now, she can make a positive impact.

A lot of times in our lives, things bother us and make us mad.  We feel like something must be done.  When we feel furious and upset, we are closed off from anything good that may happen.  In order to make change, we have to shift our mindset.  This is why I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.

I’ve been following Cure for Chloe on facebook for a couple years now.  I remember when Chloe was a cowgirl on a horse for Halloween and got her new wheelchair.  At the expo, I finally got to meet her.  It made my whole weekend!!  I was so excited!!!

I enjoyed meeting everyone in Chicago.  What a wonderful expo!  This was my last expo of this year.  I am currently booking school visits for National Disabilities Month in October.  Please contact me if you are interested.


Hagedorn Little Village School

May 29th, 2012

While in New York last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Hagedorn Little Village School.  I love Hagedorn Little Village!  I got to meet a huge fan of Wendy on Wheels, Dina.  She was kind of shy, but seemed to enjoy meeting me.  I read to a lot of classes in the 2 hours I was there.

One little girl got to choose the book for her class.  She chose Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, then signed “please.”  After I finished she signed “more.”  Luckily, we had time to read, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.  She signed “more” after that one too.

One little boy clapped very loudly and yelled out, “THAT WAS AWESOME!!  You are the best reader ever!!!”

My favorite schools to visit are special schools.  Children with different abilities are the reason I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.  Hopefully, I will get some pictures soon to post.

By the way, I will at the Abilities Expo in Chicago at the end of the month.  My workshop is at 3:45 on Saturday.  Come see me!!!



Introducing Ethan and Emma

April 16th, 2012

I’ve been working on a book for 180 Medical.  I’m so excited about this one!  It’s been fun creating whole new characters and seeing them come to life.  Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Ethan and Emma.

Ethan and Emma are twins, who have just learned to catheterize themselves.  For the first time, they get to go on a field trip without their mom and dad.  Hopefully, this story will empower children to learn to cath themselves.  Elizabeth and I will have the story and images completed in the next couple weeks.  I’ll let you know when and how it will be available when the time comes.

Lunada Bay Elementary and Day 1 of the Abilities Expo LA

March 31st, 2012

Thursday, I had the pleasure of introducing Wendy on Wheels to a kindergarten class at Lunada Bay Elementary School.  It was my first school visit in California.  What a wonderful group of little ones!  I started with Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo.  The group did great with the discussion questions, although they were more interested in having me read more books.  I read two more of my books.  I got a bunch of hugs when it was time for me to go.  How sweet!   I LOVE IT!!!

On my way out, I saw some excellent anti-bully signs the second graders made.

I love this catchphase, “Bullies are a pain in the brain!”

I used to draw hearts on everything when I was a kid.

Yesterday, was the first day of the Abilities Expo in LA.  It was great.  There was very little traffic on the way to downtown LA, so we got our booth set up right on time.   That’s always a good start.  I met a lot of great people.  Here’s a picture of my son and me.

One particular conversation that stands out in my mind was with a gentleman, named Andrew.  He said at the time he started kindergarten around 1977, they had just started mainstreaming children with different abilities.  He was the first ever  child with a wheelchair to attend at the school.  The school was not prepared, mentally or physically.  Not only did he have to go all the way outside to get to other parts of the school but he had 300 kids asking him all sorts of questions.  “What’s wrong with you?” “How do you go to the bathroom?”  “Why are your feet so small?”  I can imagine it made things very difficult.  I hope to change this with Wendy on Wheels.

There are two more days of the Abilities Expo in LA.  I read my newest book, Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand today in my workshop.  I can’t wait!

St. Catherine Laboure’s Ability Awareness Day

March 17th, 2012

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting Wendy on Wheels to the kindergarteners and first graders at St. Catherine Laboure School.

 The first group of kindergarteners had already heard Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, my favorite book for Ability Awareness Days.  One kid yelled out, “I know what’s going to happen,” before I even started.  During the story, some were saying parts of the story with me.  It was awesome!!

Then I read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand.  Since it is new, no one had heard it yet.  They loved it!  The students chanted along, “NO BULLY NO!!”  They loved the signs.

Speaking of signs, they had decorated the halls with signs for Abilities Awareness Days.

     A possibilist.  I like that!

This one is my favorite.

 The signs were great!

While I was reading to the second kindergarten group, one little boy said the boy next to him, “We’re not talking about Star Wars!”  That made me laugh.

In one of the first grade groups, I started out talking about my sister and how I was inspired to write Wendy on Wheels.  One boy raised his hand and said, “Are you going to read the books?”  Ha.  I guess he didn’t care what I had to say.  He just wanted to hear Wendy on Wheels.  That’s good.  I prefer it that way.  It was a great day!  What a wonderful group of children!

 I present at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles in two weeks.  I can’t wait!!